Answer God’s Call

We think of God’s prophets in the Old Testament as those that foretold the future. They also warned God’s people of the consequences of turning their backs on His sovereignty and Word. During earlier Biblical times, God employed prophets to speak to His people, and this continues even today. The prophets we read about in the Old Testament were in fellowship with the thoughts of God. They knew His voice and often looked at the world from God’s perspective. They were deeply grieved when God’s people would not listen to our Heavenly Father, and they were elated when the people repented and again enjoyed God’s favor. The Old Testament is comprised of many writings of the prophets. They understood the detriment of being too distracted with matters outside of God’s Will. It might cause them to misinterpret or misrepresent a message from the Father. If that happened, they could lose the trust of God’s people and become an ineffective prophet, and this was a fate they wanted to avoid.

Prophets must always be concerned and attentive to the inner life, and many of them spent time alone with only themselves and God. It is a distinct and wonderful calling, and although many of us living today might not be called to this office, we can share an even more intimate relationship with the Father because of what He has accomplished through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Even though God spoke to prophets directly in Old Testament times, they did not have the closeness with Him that believers today enjoy, because they did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit. We do! The same Spirit that was in Christ reconciling the world to God is also in us if we are born again. He, the Spirit, is working in us, helping us to become more and more like Jesus Christ.

Like the prophets of old, we have a responsibility to God as well. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t need us, or anyone else, to help Him out, and we have to be clear about that. He is God all by Himself, and no one in all of eternity will ever compare to our glorious, omnipotent, brilliant, and perfect God. He is the Great I Am, and He has a plan for the entire universe. Through God’s plan, He expresses His unconditional and limitless love for us all. 2Timothy 1-9 tells us, “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” God has called us into His glorious light through Christ. He’s given us the highest privilege imaginable to be bearers of His light, and as such, we must meet His requirements and fulfill our call.

God has a plan for the entire universe, and we are in that plan. So, it is very important that we be attentive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and do as God tells us. Fulfilling His call keeps us in the safety of His protection and provision, and if we step away from our call, we forfeit the blessing of it. The Old Testament Book of Jonah reveals this in the record of Jonah. He was called to the office of God’s prophet and received an assignment to go to Nineveh, a large city whose people were notoriously wicked. God instructed Jonah to announce to the citizens of Nineveh that His judgment was against their evil ways. Jonah 1:3(NLT) tells us, “But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish.” The long and short of it, Jonah heard the assignment from the Lord, and he didn’t want to do it.

Jonah should have read what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 139:7-10(NLT), “7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. 9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, 10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.” Jonah ran from the Lord, was cast from the boat by the boat’s crew, and God sent a whale to swallow and save him. There he stayed in the belly of the whale for three days and nights. Jonah 2:10, 3:1-2(NLT) tells us, “Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach. Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”

God didn’t punish Jonah, but affirmed to Jonah that he had been called to speak to the people of Nineveh, and he had a duty to complete this assignment. This is a lesson to us. God has given every believer a gift, talent, or ability to bless the body of Christ in a way that only they can. Some of us have been fearful like Jonah. We’ve been too concerned about what others will say or think of us. We tell ourselves it is too hard to be the light that God has called us to be, but this isn’t true. In His Word, we often see God calling unlikely people to do big things for His Kingdom. They had insecurities and doubt like many of us, but God wanted to partner with them as they depended on His strength and power. He desires this from all of us.

Things fall apart when we don’t answer God’s call and take our eyes off the prize of Jesus Christ. So, we must make every effort to remain humble before God and pray to Him every chance that we get. We must ask God to reveal anything we need to confront and correct in our lives, so that we’re not running from our call like Jonah. Our faith is exponentially impacted when we allow God to work through us and trust that He is with us every step of the way.

In Matthew 10:19-20(NLT), Jesus Christ taught the disciples that if they were in a tight spot, “don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” God moves through us! His power is in us through His Holy Spirit. Be confident that God has called and qualified you to serve and share with others. Know with every fiber of your being that the indwelling Holy Spirit will lead, guide and help you as you remain committed to answer God’s call and follow the example of Christ.■ 

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Answer God’s Call”, written for© 2024. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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